On Wednesday September 19, Mark Clennell, the Designated Premises Supervisor of The Wheatsheaf in Houghton le Spring, Tyne and Wear, was convicted in his absence of two offences of dishonest reception of a television transmission, in this case, Sky televised football matches, with the intent to avoid payment of the applicable charge. Clennell was fined £1,142 per offence, ordered to pay costs of £3,819.46 and £170 victim surcharge bringing the total amount to £6,273.46.
Also as a result of Sky’s action, the Court of Session in Edinburgh has imposed a punishment of 14 days imprisonment against Christopher McGregor Clacher, the former Designated Premises Manager (DPM) of the Clachan Bar in Whitburn, after he was found in contempt of court. Having been convicted of illegal use of the Sky Sports signal, Clacher showed further matches in the pub in February and March, 2017.
Stephen Gerrard, Prosecuting Manager, FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) said “These cases should send a clear warning to pub owners and licensees who show Sky broadcasts without a commercial subscription. If convicted, fines for this offence are unlimited and you may have to pay substantial legal costs, as well as putting yourself at risk of having your licence suspended or revoked.”
Sky Sports is only available to licensed premises in the UK via a commercial viewing agreement from Sky Business.
“It’s important to us that businesses are aware of the consequences of showing Sky Sports illegally – it is a serious issue that is damaging to the pub industry, and those licensees who choose to televise content in this way should be aware that they are at high risk of being caught and face substantial penalties,” according to George Lawson, head of commercial piracy at Sky.
“We actively visit thousands of pubs every season to monitor the games they are showing and continue to support FACT’s work to protect hardworking Sky customers who are unfairly losing business due to this illegal activity”.